Many of us spend most of our time at work, and a toxic work environment can profoundly impact our mental health. Toxic work environments can be caused by several factors, including difficult co-workers, abusive bosses, and excessive workloads. If left unchecked, a toxic work environment can lead to various mental health problems, from anxiety and depression to burnout and PTSD. In this article, we’ll explore how a toxic work environment can impact your mental health and what you can do to protect yourself.
Why mental health strategies won’t work in a toxic work environment:
- The workplace will treat mental health as a Tick box exercise.
- Toxic cultures accept behaviours that damage mental health.
- The workplace will treat mental health strategies as temporary.
- Mental health strategies are only implemented as a reactive measure.
- Productivity and Results are treated more than well-being.
- There is a stigma and negative judgements are made if you have mental health issues
- Most workplaces thrive off micro-management.
A toxic workplace leads to mental health issues, increases stress, and decreases motivation. An important factor of a toxic workplace is there can be politics involved in the corporate environment. Say one thing and then twist it and say something else. Chinese whispers and gossip play an important role towards a toxic environment.
Leaders must understand the culture and how it can affect employees. Toxic culture is still common nowadays, so many employees leave their companies for a different one. Many leaders still see themselves as bosses and allow the toxic culture to stay in the company by ignoring that fact.
Employees can achieve so much more in a healthy environment where they can be transparent with the management and feel appreciated. However, it goes both ways. It can come from the top down and bottom up – where there is a toxic environment, there are also people who see themselves as victims because of a variety of reasons.
Work can sometimes be extremely demanding, and that is true. If you are working extreme hours, it means you agree with it. If you disagree and are still doing it, it is your decision and, therefore, your consequence.
How Can You Protect Yourself from a Toxic Work Environment?
If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, there are steps you can take to protect your mental health:
- Talk to someone: Find someone you trust, such as a colleague, friend, or mental health professional, and talk to them about your experiences.
- Set boundaries: Set clear boundaries with your co-workers and bosses, and stick to them. For example, let your co-workers know if you don’t want to be contacted outside of work hours.
- Take breaks: Take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge.
- Practice self-care: Take care of your mental health by practising self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.
- Seek support: If your work environment negatively impacts your mental health, seek support from a mental health professional.
Conclusion: A toxic work environment can profoundly impact your mental health, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By talking to someone you trust, setting boundaries, taking breaks, practising self-care, and seeking support, you can help prevent the negative effects of a toxic work environment. Remember, your mental health is important, and you deserve to work in an environment that supports your well-being.
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